A Prejudiced Conclusion
In the final autumn of Zhou Enlai’s life, as he fought a losing battle with cancer, he was troubled by a matter that had been resolved with Mao’s approval several times over – in 1932, 1968 and 1972. Yet the thought preyed on his mind that posterity might doubt his loyalty to the party, might believe that in 1932, under the alias Wu Hao, he had published a newspaper declaration that he was quitting the party. He requested that his account and all the accompanying materials that proved the GMD’s fabrication of the announcement be brought to his hospital bed. In September 1975 he once again signed his name to the documents, which were then returned to the party archives. Here was a man whose every moment for more than fifty years had been dedicated for better or worse to the Chinese Communist Party, a man who had been involved in every dramatic twist and turn the party had taken, a man who had stood at Mao’s side and at the side of those leaders who had preceded Mao. One of the giants of the communist revolution, he had personally negotiated with the friends and enemies of the CCP and the PRC. He was revered and loved by his people – and yet his last thoughts were disturbed by an episode that might appear to us as marginal, if not trivial.
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